Has it really been more than thirty years since I killed my baby? It seems like only last week. I can tell you what my girlfriend wore when I drove her to the clinic, where I parked the car, how many dimes I dropped into the parking meter ...
I was 17. Judith, 19. Both of us, I convinced myself, were too young to bear the responsibilities of a baby. "What do you mean, you're pregnant?" I had asked a few weeks earlier when she returned from the physician's office. As she awaited my reaction, I knew she expected me to propose marriage.
I talked her into having an abortion. It was easy to suggest that alternative. I chose to believe our baby was only a glob of cells growing in her womb. I chose to believe that Judith had the right to choose what to do with her own body and that every baby should be a wanted baby. I embraced every excuse I'd ever heard because each one helped to free me from my obligations to Judith and our child. A few months after the abortion, Judith and I went our separate ways.
Today, my son or daughter would have been nearly thirty-three years old. Perhaps he would have been a missionary, or a teacher, or a physician or...Perhaps I would have been a grandfather. But that child was denied his right to life, his opportunity for a career, and his possibility for parenthood. That can't be undone. Time can't be turned backwards. Abortion is not simply a "rights" issue. It has deep, enduring emotional and spiritual implications for those of us who, too late, awakened to the lies and excuses that overruled our consciences.
What might I have done if someone had taken me aside and counseled me in the days between learning of Judith's pregnancy and her abortion? If I'd seen pictures of a baby in the womb sucking his thumb, stretching his limbs, and reacting to pain, would I have had second thoughts? If someone had explained clearly to me what I was asking Judith to do, would I have been struck by the gravity and depravity of that option? If someone offered me the adoption alternative to abortion, would she and I have chosen a different path? I don't know.
Sin is a powerful and deceptive force. A man determined to follow the easy and broad path of sin will not be diverted easily. And yet, when the realization of what he's done looms across his conscience, that man may suffer a nearly unbearable burden of loss and guilt, not knowing where to turn to find relief and forgiveness.
That's where you come in. You can bridge the chasm between despair and hope. Just as the woman caught in adultery or Saul who aided in Stephen's death or Peter who three times denied his Lord, men who have delivered their babies to the abortionist can find--they must find--redemption and hope.
In 1972, four years after the abortion, a friend gave me a Bible and told me about the new life I could have in Jesus Christ. As I leafed through its pages, one verse in particular grabbed my attention: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). That I was a sinner came as no surprise to me. Having lived a life of rebellion, drug abuse, and sexual immorality, I knew my life was a mess. But the Bible also promised I could be forgiven, not just for my everyday rebellion, but also for killing my child. "Come," God urged through the prophet Isaiah, "let us reason together...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18). The apostle John wrote, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful...to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9).
I will be forever grateful to the man who pointed me in Christ's direction. If he had not, I know the lingering sadness--to this day-- would have prevented me from moving beyond my grief. You, also, can be a lighthouse to those who learn too late what they have done. Jesus is still in the healing and forgiving business. they can move forward with hope, that they can find peace.
If you don't tell them, perhaps no one will.
Richard Maffeo is a registered nurse and freelance writer. He lives in Southern California with his wife and children. You can contact him at Rmaffeo1@san.rr.com.